United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF CLOVIS REED'S MOTION
 TO DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE; DISMISSNG PLAINTIFF CLOVIS
REED'S CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS NANCY DEPREO AND THOMAS
SCHAFER IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE; AND
DISMISSING CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT is Plaintiff Clovis Reed's Motion  for
Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice. After due
consideration of the record, the related pleadings, and
relevant legal authority, the Court is of the opinion that
Plaintiff's Motion  for Voluntary Dismissal Without
Prejudice should be granted and Plaintiff Clovis Reed's
claims against Defendants Nancy Depreo and Thomas Schafer in
their individual capacities should be dismissed without
prejudice. The Court is further of the opinion that it should
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
remaining state-law claims, and that this case should
therefore be dismissed without prejudice.
Clovis Reed (“Plaintiff”) is the former City
Manager of the City of Diamondhead, Mississippi. On May 14,
2018, he filed this action against the following Defendants:
the City of Diamondhead; Thomas Schaeffer, in his official
capacity as Mayor for the City of Diamondhead and
individually; Nancy Depreo, in her official capacity as
Alderwoman for the City of Diamondhead and individually;
Terry King; Margaret Dutton; Karen Rice; Dwayne Bremmer;
Nicole Boisdore, and Elaine Bienvenue (collectively
“Defendants”). Compl. . The Complaint alleges
that Defendants violated Plaintiff's First and Fourteenth
Amendment rights and that they committed a myriad of torts
against him in violation of Mississippi law.Id. at
Complaint asserts that while Plaintiff was serving as City
Manager, Defendant Mayor Schafer (the “Mayor”)
treated Plaintiff's position as the “mayor's
assistant, instead of the City Manager.” Id.
at 3-4. Plaintiff contends that when members of the City
Council asked him to focus more on his role as City Manager
rather than on the Mayor's requests, the Mayor began
verbally attacking him and undermining his authority.
Id. at 4-5. Plaintiff alleges that he asked the City
Council to intervene in this alleged harassment, but it
refused to act and the harassment continued. Id. at
5. According to the Complaint, the Mayor then began calling
for Plaintiff's termination. In addition, the Mayor and
other individual Defendants began falsely claiming “on
social media, in public forums, behind closed doors, through
media outlets, by word of mouth, and at council
meetings” that Plaintiff had committed criminal acts.
Id. at 5-6.
settlement negotiations with the City of Diamondhead and
Defendants Schafer and Depreo, Plaintiff voluntarily
dismissed his claims against the City and Defendants Depreo
and Schafer in their official capacities. Notice of Dismissal
 . Plaintiff then filed the instant Motion 
seeking to voluntarily dismiss Defendants Nancy Depreo and
Thomas Schafer in their individual capacities without
prejudice. Mot. . Defendant Schafer initially responded
by requesting a hearing on the Motion  and asking the
Court to only grant a dismissal of these Defendants with
prejudice, Resp.  at 2-3, but Schafer later withdrew this
Response  and therefore his opposition to the Motion
, Notice of Withdrawal .
non-City, individual Defendants, Rice, Boisdore, and King,
also submitted a Response  in Opposition to the Motion
, arguing that the Court should require Plaintiff to pay
all legal fees and costs and “compel Reed and the City
of Diamondhead to disclose all facts” that caused the
parties to settle their claims. Resp.  at 3-4. In Reply
, Plaintiff asserts that these Defendants are not
entitled to legal fees and that they had no right to take
part in settlement talks between him and the other
Defendants. Reply  at 2.
City of Diamondhead responded in support of Plaintiff's
Motion  stating that Defendant Schafer abstained in the
City's vote to waive the consent to settle clause of
their insurance agreement allowing the settlement of these
claims. Resp.  at 1-2. The City further maintains that
Plaintiff waived his right to file suit against Defendants
Schafer and Depreo in their individual capacities in future
state court filings. Id. at 2.
the Case Management Conference held before the Magistrate
Judge, the parties agreed that once the Court dismisses
Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Schafer and Depreo,
the “only claims remaining in the case [will be]
state[-]law claims.” Minute Entry, Dec. 17, 2018.
Motion  for Voluntary Dismissal Without
Rule of Civil Procedure 41 permits a party to seek voluntary
dismissal “by court order, on terms that the court
considers proper.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(2). “Unless
the order states otherwise, a dismissal under this [Rule
41(a)(2)] is without prejudice.” Id. The
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has
explained that “as a general rule, motions for
voluntary dismissal should be freely granted unless the
non-moving party will suffer some plain legal prejudice other
than the mere prospect of a second lawsuit.” Elbaor
v. Tripath Imaging, Inc., 279 F.3d 314, 317 (5th Cir.
2002). “The mere fact that the plaintiff ‘may
gain a tactical advantage by dismissing its suit without
prejudice and refiling in another forum is not sufficient
legal prejudice.'” United States ex rel. Vaughn
v. United Biologics, L.L.C., 907 F.3d 187, 196-97 (5th
Cir. 2018) (quoting Bechuck v. Home Depot
U.S.A., Inc., 814 F.3d 287, 299 (5th Cir. 2016)
(internal quotation omitted)). Absent a showing of
“plain legal prejudice” or other “evidence
of abuse by the movant, ” such a motion should be
granted. Elbaor, 279 F.3d at 317.
Defendant Schafer having withdrawn his Response  to the
pending Motion , non-City Defendants Rice, Boisdore, and
King are the only Defendants who oppose Plaintiff's
Motion . Mot. ; Resp ; Notice of Withdrawal .
The Court finds that their requests for attorneys' fees
and for disclosure of the details of the settlement are not
well taken, and it declines to award such relief.
See Resp. . Further, because “the mere
prospect of a second lawsuit” is not enough to show
“plain legal prejudice, ” Plaintiff's Motion
 for Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice should be
Supplemental jurisdiction ...